I’ve already addressed in another article what is unconditional love but let’s review. Put simply, and as the words would imply, unconditional love is love that is given without the expectation of anything in return.
Conditional love, on the other hand, is the love that is given in response to love received and generally has attached to it something like… “I will love you as long as ….”. The conclusion to this phrase might be about something I get from you or something you do for me, so might end with “… you take care of me.” or “ … you give me what I want.”
In that article the question I was addressing was whether unconditional love actually exists. My conclusion was – ‘absolutely’ and not just in the form of a mother’s love for a child but of one person towards another whether that person is a partner, a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or just someone you pass on the street that you don’t know or might never pass by again.
So in this article I want to take this notion one step further to discuss how to find unconditional love in your relationships as they can be in all the above circumstances.
And here it is – the answer pure and simple lies in your capacity to forgive. That might be a small word but upon its shoulders lays the salvation of the world.
And here’s the most critical factor in this notion – it’s not the world that we need to focus on here but on what we do in our most private moments with those most close to us.
When I was little I was taught to admit to and then say ‘sorry’ when I committed an offence. I was told that this was the way to my salvation. I have never, and still don’t, doubt the truth of this. And while this was and still can be a hard task to complete, I have come to realize that forgiving myself and/or another may even be a harder ask. And, as I have already stated, may actually be even more important for our world’s survival.
So here is my strategy to offering forgiveness and finding unconditional love in our relationships, even if the other hasn’t asked for it, or I don’t believe that they, or I, deserve it.
The 7 Steps to Forgiveness
- Identify your emotions and at least express them to yourself
- Take responsibility for your part in the conflict
- Accept the other person, and yourself, as they and you are and let go of any need or want for revenge
- Forgive yourself as you take your learning from the situation to ensure you don’t repeat it
- Have the desire to express forgiveness either out loud if appropriate or at least in your mind
- Meet with the person involved if possible or imagine them being with you
- Make a connection with a past event that might have been similar and ensure that there is nothing residual there that needs forgiveness as well.
Try the exercise and if you need help with it there are more details of the exercise at my website under the heading of ‘quizzes and questionnaires’. And if you are really stuck speak with someone professionally.
So until next time – Relate with Love